Hungry? I hope not, because we’re going to talk food today.
I was cruising around Kickstarter t’other day when I noticed something. There are a huge number of “what the heck were you thinking” projects in the food category. There are also some darn good ideas out there. Allow me to share a few of the highlights and lowlights.
First up, here’s Keith. Keith is restoring a 1939 Dodge fire engine. Why? No idea. He’s pretty clear that it’s going to be a mobile catering station for his “BBQ Beast” business, but he doesn’t give us a clue of why he wants to use this vehicle instead of any other. Mind you, the Kickstarter isn’t really for the fire engine, even though it’s prominently displayed at the top of the page and most of the content of the video talks about it. Most of the Kickstarter funds will actually go to the purchase of a trailer to carry everything that won’t fit into the fire engine. As I write this, He’s a bit over 10% of the way to his funding goal, and even though there are two weeks to go, I don’t think he’s going to make it. Keith, give us a reason to want to help you. Any readers in Windsor, CA know what Keith’s thinking?
Then there’s Rich. Rich has a plan. He wants to start selling his own BBQ and tacos on 6th Street in Austin, TX. He’s got experience selling street food on 6th Street. He’s already negotiating for a location. He’s got a budget–and he even breaks it down for us, explaining how much of the Kickstarter money is for equipment, licensing, and so on. He’s got some interesting ideas for the menu: an ever-changing mix of “normal” and “unique to Rich” fare (beef tongue tacos, anyone? How about smoked fish? Or pork belly?) Heck, even his vegetable topping sounds intriguing: a mixture of four pickled vegetables: carrots, cabbage, red onion, and cucumber. Just like Keith, Rich is 10% of the way to his goal, but IMNSHO, he’s got a much better chance. Heck, I’ve got no plans to visit Austin in the foreseeable future, but I’ve pledged a few bucks, just because I admire him for doing his homework and setting an attainable goal.
Maybe it’s Californians who have trouble getting their point across. Bobby is looking for financial help to get his BBQ sauce into stores. According to all of his friends, it’s the greatest BBQ sauce ever. And even more importantly, it’s made with pomegranate, so it’s loaded with “real antioxidants”! None of those horrible fake antioxidants used in other products; Bobby’s BBQ is “unique” and “all-natural”! With Kickstarter funding, Bobby believes the only obstacle to his success is ensuring a sufficient supply of “the best, freshest ingredients”. R&D is done and the “initial market testing is all positive”. That $20,000 he’s looking for will cover “Manufacturing, Retail Distribution, Warehousing, [and] Shipping to stores and you”! Bobby, do you have any idea how the food industry works? Good luck, man, you’re gonna need it. (As of this writing, Bobby’s “Bah Bah BBQ Sauce” is 2% funded…)
OK, it’s not just a California thing. Genelle is ready to ditch the insurance business and follow her lifelong dream of having her own business. If she can raise $1,500 on Kickstarter, she’ll rent a commercial kitchen and “get my salsa into local stores throughout Oregon.” What could go wrong? Apparently the only risk is going out of business, and that risk can be mitigated “with the proper permits and business liability insurances”. I hope she’s got a friend who can design a logo and labels for her jars of salsa. And a plan to actually deliver her product to those “local stores throughout Oregon”… At least she’s starting small, with an attainable Kickstarter funding target. The project has only been up for a couple of days and she’s already 10% of the way there.
Let’s wrap this up with another highlight, if only to show that not all Californian food-related Kickstarters are clueless. Lisa and the gang at Sosu Sauces are kickstarting their newest take on Sriracha: aged in whiskey barrels. This isn’t their first time launching a new sauce, and it’s not their first time on Kickstarter. They know what they’re getting into, they’ve got a plan, and perhaps most importantly, they’ve already got contacts in the industry. They already have relationships with farmers, barrel makers, and distributors. I’m not fond of sriracha, but I can see the real fans going wild for their variation. They’ve got the same $20,000 target that Bobby does, but they actually know what they’re going to do with the money if they reach their target. Their confidence shows, and it’s inspiring backer confidence. As I write this, the project has only been open for a few hours, and they’ve already hit 6% with plenty of time to go. I’ll wish them good luck, but unlike Bobby, I don’t think they really need it.